Maryland fake ID Laws
Being under 21 does not stop minors from using fake IDs to obtain alcohol
As in the rest of the country, you must be 21 to purchase alcohol in Maryland. Every bar, restaurant, and liquor store is required to check the ID of people purchasing alcohol. As every adult knows, a government age limit has never stopped minors from obtaining alcohol anyway. The most common way of doing this is by using a fake ID, or in some cases, trying to pass off an adult’s ID as their own. Whether using a fake ID or another person’s ID, trying to purchase alcohol with an illegitimate ID is illegal. If a minor is caught doing this, they will most likely be arrested.
Maryland Fake ID Laws
Two provisions of the Maryland Code prohibit using a fake ID. First, Maryland Criminal Code Section 8-303 criminalizes the possession and presentation of fake identification cards with “fraudulent intent”. In addition, this provision also prohibits individuals from lending a government identification document and allowing another to use it. That means the older brother, for example, who lets his younger brother use his ID to get into a bar is as criminally liable as the younger brother who tries to use it. A person arrested and charged with this offense can face a maximum penalty of six months in jail and/or a $500 fine for a first offense. This charge in Maryland is a misdemeanor and applies to any government-issued identification card.
MD Fake ID laws also include penalties for those who are associated with the sale of fake IDs. Those who are accused of selling a fake ID can face a penalty of up to 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 for each sold fake ID.
In addition, Maryland Transportation Code Section 16-301 prohibits someone from fraudulently or knowingly obtaining or attempting to obtain a driver’s license by misrepresentation. It also prohibits individuals from using false information or concealing material facts in an application to obtain a Maryland driver’s license. For example, someone trying to get a driver’s license using a fake ID or other fraudulent documents or information is guilty of violating Maryland law. The Transportation Code also criminalizes the use of a fake driver’s license as well as retaining or using canceled, revoked, suspended, fictitious, or fraudulently altered driver’s licenses.
Diversion for Fake ID Charges
In most criminal cases the defendant pleads guilty or goes to trial; in rare cases, the case may be dismissed for some reason. In some cases, such as someone with no prior record being charged with possessing a fake ID, diversion may be an option. Diversion is a process typically involving the defendant entering into an agreement with the prosecutor where the defendant agrees to complete certain conditions in exchange for a dismissal or reduction of charges. In some Maryland fake ID cases, the prosecutor may offer diversion where the defendant agrees to take alcohol classes and/or complete community service in exchange for a dismissal.
Because diversion is not always offered, it’s important to consult an experienced Maryland fake ID lawyer if you or your child has been charged with a Maryland fake ID offense. While possession or use of a fake ID in Maryland is a misdemeanor, the consequences of any criminal conviction can be problematic for one’s future. A misdemeanor will appear on a criminal record and could be seen by future employers, renters, and higher education institutions. A qualified Maryland criminal lawyer can negotiate with the Assistant State’s Attorney to try and reach a diversion agreement. Ultimately, successful completion of diversion could also lead to eventually getting the arrest record expunged. Diversion is often an effective way to deal with a criminal charge because it’s the only option in the criminal justice system where the defendant has control over whether her charges get dismissed. The defendant can rest assured that if she completes the requirements of the agreement, in the end, the prosecutor will dismiss the case and charge.
Attorney Paolo Gnocchi is an aggressive Maryland criminal defense attorney who has experience defending criminal cases including fake ID cases in Maryland. She serves clients in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and other surrounding counties. She has experience in both General District and Circuit Court. Some of the cities she covers include Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Potomac, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Hyattsville, College Park, Fort Washington, Bowie, Oxon Hill, and Greenbelt, among others.
If you or a friend or loved one has been arrested and facing Maryland fake ID charges, contact Rockville Criminal Attorney Paolo Gnocchi today for a full case evaluation. Hiring the right attorney can make all the difference when charged with a criminal offense. The stakes are too high to face this situation alone and unprepared.